Pair pleads guilty to arson

By Katherine Wartell

The duo accused of setting a deadly apartment fire in February pleaded guilty to the crime in federal court Wednesday afternoon.

Patrick Scahill, 20, Manhattan, and Virginia Griese, 19, Manhattan, both pleaded guilty to one count of arson resulting in death for setting fire to the Lee Crest Apartments, 820 Sunset Ave., in Manhattan on Feb. 6.

A tenant of the complex, Vasanta Pallem, 34, died from smoke inhalation as a result of the fire.

In court, prosecutors said the fire was set to divert attention from an investigation at Scahill’s residence, 1838 Anderson Ave., conducted the same night of the arson. Scahill shared the apartment with two men arrested for an armed robbery committed at Dara’s Fast Lane on Claflin Road in the early morning hours of Feb. 6.

Scahill and Griese are scheduled to appear for their sentencing on July 15 in Topeka.

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